Family Photos

Green Brownie Camera by Eastman Kodak

By the time Everett’s first families arrived in the early 1890s, the most prosperous among them had cameras. They began documenting their new Pacific Northwest adventures, taking pictures of family, friends, their homes, their town, their vacations, and special events. When the Kodak postcard camera was introduced in 1903, family photos were often processed as postcards and mailed to friends and relatives. 

brown antique camera

These images were frequently saved in scrapbooks which are now prized by families, libraries, and museums. While professional photographers were skilled in their trade, their subjects were chosen by the marketplace. They took pictures of what they were paid to shoot. 

Family photos tell a different story. While many are poorly exposed and often strangely composed, the subjects they present are often ones rarely seen in commercial views.

Circular black and white photo of 2 men and 2 women in front of an airplane

We begin our “Family Photos” online collection with two groups of images scanned from 4” x 5” glass negatives, and one photo album. In the 1980s, Everett Public Library purchased glass plate negatives taken by an unknown photographer from antique dealer Bill Skinner. 

These appear to have been taken in the first decade of the 20th century. A second group of 4” x 5” glass negatives was given to the library, and most likely was taken by ship’s carpenter Severin Pettersen and/or his wife Anna. These photos date from around 1900, although a few were taken as early as the 1890s. A photo album from the Spriestersbach family was loaned to us long enough to scan its pages, adding to our WWI-vintage era photos.